House Oversight Chairman James Comer and fellow House Republicans have been hyping up a closed-door session with Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, in hopes of uncovering some evidence of a supposed $5 million bribe involving President Biden — but it turns out it was yet again a big old "nothing burger," just like the rest of the GOP House's attempts at tying Biden to financial crimes.
According to The New York Times, Democrats on the panel have stated that Archer said Hunter Biden was trying to sell the "illusion" of access to his father, and that the President was not actually party to any of Hunter's business dealings.
Archer did say that there had been several times that Joe Biden had met or spoken with his son's international business partners over the course of a decade, including while he was Vice President during the Obama administration.
Archer estimated that Hunter Biden had put his father on speakerphone approximately 20 times over the course of 10 years, but that the President had been put on speaker to sell the family "brand" rather than to promote a political agenda.
Biden and his son spoke often after the sudden and untimely death of Beau Biden, checking in on each other in the wake of their shared loss. Archer said that Hunter would sometimes put his father on speakerphone when he called so he could exchange pleasantries with whomever he was dining with at the time, whether that was friends and family or a business contact.
Comer said that the testimony proved that Biden lied about having knowledge of his son's business dealings.
"Devon Archer’s testimony today confirms Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said he had no knowledge about his son’s business dealings and was not involved."
But Democrats on the panel pointed out that Archer had described those conversations as short and casual — like stopping in at a table for a short, innocuous conversation or exchanging pleasantries during a dinner party.
New York Representative Dan Goldman reinforced Archer's characterization of these conversations.
"The witness was very, very consistent that none of those conversations ever had to do with any business dealings or transactions. They were purely what he called 'casual conversation.'"
Goldman further said:
"The witness was unequivocal and stated very clearly that [Joe and Hunter Biden] never discussed any business on their phone conversations. There were niceties, and there was a 'hello,' and they talked about the weather or whatever it was, but it was never any business."
In addition to verifying that Joe Biden had never made any promises to his son Hunter's business partners in his presence, Archer confirmed that he had no knowledge of the Bidens accepting any bribes, weakening a common claim by Republicans that Biden accepted millions of dollars in bribes while he was Vice President.
When reporters asked Arizona Representative Andy Biggs, a member of the House Oversight Committee, whether Archer provided any evidence of a "$5 million bribe," Biggs begrudgingly admitted
"He didn't know anything about that.".
Biggs still insisted that an impeachment inquiry was appropriate, which Goldman vehemently disputed:
"The witness repeated over and over and over again that President Biden never discussed any business dealings of Hunter’s with Hunter or anyone else. He repeated over and over again that he never did anything in consideration, official policy or otherwise, in consideration of whatever Hunter’s business interests were. So I have a lot of respect for Congressman Biggs, but that’s just a flat out lie."
Some online were amused by the Republicans' star witness giving them absolutely nothing to prove their claims of bribery.
The White House also had a response to Archer's testimony and what it means for Republicans' claims.
White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a statement to Mediaite:
"It appears that the House Republicans' own much-hyped witness today testified that he never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son's associates, or doing anything wrong. House Republicans keep promising bombshell evidence to support their ridiculous attacks against the President, but time after time, they keep failing to produce any."
"In fact, even their own witnesses appear to be debunking their allegations. Instead of continuing to waste time and resources on this evidence-free wild goose chase, House Republicans should drop these stunts and work with the President on the issues that actually impact Americans' daily lives, like continuing to lower costs, create jobs, and strengthen health care."
The transcript of Archer's interview before the panel has not yet been released, but it is normal for Congressional transcripts to go through a review process before being released to the public.
According to reports from those who were in the session, though, it certainly seems like the Republicans' over-hyped witness gave them a whole lot of nothing when it comes to the alleged bribery they are so attached to.